Debate: On British Labour?s New Economic Policy

mcdcorbPublished: 25 November 2015
Debate Participants: Themos Demetriou, Michael Roberts and Eric Andersson

“Where Michael Roberts is Wrong” by Themos

In one of his latest posts Michael Roberts questions the validity of the economic philosophy of the new Labour Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, as well as his marxist credentials. He points out that in his keynote speech on economics at the Labour Annual Conference he accepts Marx?s analysis of the capitalist system but distances himself from his conclusions about what to do. He goes on to criticise McDonnell?s decision to appoint Keynesian rather than Marxist economists to his panel of economic advisers and forecasts that ?Corbyn and McDonnell?s National Investment Bank will not be enough to deliver sufficiently faster growth as long as the UK economy is still dominated in its strategic sectors by capitalist profit-making companies in the City of London?.

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Correction To An Old Article

correction-2xgekz01y46mqrl2b244y2On the 20th 0f April 2015 we published an article about the approaching General Election in Britain. In the article we reproduced the text of a statement issued by the Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory on its website: https://socialistcampaignforalabourvictory.wordpress.com/sign-the-statement/. This included a list of ‘Initial Signatories’ copied from the same site in which British Labour MP John McDonnell’s name was included (it still is). On our part, we have now removed John’s name from the list in our article because he has informed us that he did not put his name to this statement and that it was published there without his consent. We apologise for any confusion and refer any enquiries to the Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory whose statement it was and whose list of signatories it still is.
TSN Editor

Turkish Elections ? Nationalism and Terror Take Country Closer to Dictatorship

Collage 1Published: 5 November 2015
Author: Tayfun Hatipo?lu

The victory of the ruling AK Party in Turkey’s parliamentary elections on November 1st was an important step on an increasingly dictatorial path. Having lost its majority in last June?s elections, AK Party leader President Erdogan was unwilling to accept the verdict of the people and allow a coalition government to be formed. Instead, he instructed his puppet Prime Minster Davuto?lu to perform an elaborate charade in which discussions were held with each of the opposition parties. This was supposedly to examine the possibilities of a coalition government  but was really only to provide time for an alternative strategy to be put in place.

In this, the Government was most fortunately assisted by the decision of Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the right-wing Turkish nationalist party, the MHP, to refuse again and again to enter any coalition government, either with the opposition parties or the AK Party regime. This strange position has led Bahceli to become known as ?Mr No?, a position that has caused some speculation that the ruling Party has done a secret deal with him or has some hold over him through blackmail or some other means.

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Debate: What options for the Left in Greece?

Syriza Keeps the Greeks on Track

Published: 15/10/2015.
Author: Themos Demetriou (Socialist Expression Cyprus).
Intro by: TSN Editor.

In the run up to our Annual Meeting next weekend in Athens – see here for details – the debate about the struggle in Greece continues. Here we publish a document written eight weeks ago, a long time in terms of the frenetic pace of events there. Accordingly the author has added an introduction to cover his thoughts on the latest developments:

 

The document below was first published in late August, during the election campaign that returned Tsipras to power with an astonishing 35.5% of the vote. Even at that time it was necessary to add a postscript in order to bring it up to date with the fact that elections were called by Tsipras, and a split took place in Syriza with the formation of the new Popular Unity party.

Today, with the results of the elections being what they are, a few comments on the developing situation are probably in order.

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Final Invitation to the Socialist Network Annual Meeting 23-25 October in Athens, Greece

Network ConferenceThe Socialist Network Annual Meeting is just nine days away – it runs from Friday 23rd of October to Sunday 25th inclusive – and will be covering some of the key issues for the international left (see Agenda below).

This year the meeting is being held in Athens, Greece, which has seen such drama this year in the struggle against austerity being imposed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Kicking off the meeting will be a speech from renowned socialist economist, Michael Roberts, who will analyse the causes of the capitalist crisis we are still passing through, and open up a discussion on the alternatives.

Building on this, Jonathan Clyne will be introducing his new version of the Socialist Manifesto which points to the kind of society we need to replace capitalism with.

On the second day of the conference we will be hearing from our Editor Pat Byrne on the national and international significance of the momentous election of left-winger Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of the British Labour Party. We will also hear a report from the international Campaign for a Democratic Public Banking Service which The Socialist Network has played a big part in launching recently.

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‘Our Athens Spring’ a speech by Yanis Varoufakis

VaroufakisPublished: 25 September 2015.

This fascinating and detailed speech on what really happened inside the negotiations between Greece and the Troika, was delivered just over a month ago on August 23, 2015, by former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. He was speaking at a festival  organised in the French department of Saône-et-Loire by the local organisation of the French Socialist Party, which is associated with former French industry minister Arnaud Montebourg. Montebourg was sacked from this post in August 2014 by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

?Let me tell you why I am here with words I have borrowed from a famous old manifesto. I am here because:

A spectre is haunting Europe ? the spectre of democracy. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: The state-sponsored bankers and the Eurogroup, the Troika and Dr Schäuble, Spain?s heirs of Franco?s political legacy and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Germany’s Berlin leadership, Baltic governments that subjected their populations to terrible, unnecessary recession and Greece?s resurgent oligarchy.

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How A Victory for Jeremy Can be Turned into the Transformation of the British Labour Party

Combo hi-resPublished: 2 September 2015
Author: Pat Byrne (TSN Editor)

The announcement of the outcome of the British Labour Party leader election is almost upon us. While we don?t want to ?count our chickens before they hatch?, we need to start seriously preparing for the historic likelihood that Jeremy Corbyn will become the next leader of the Labour Party.

The unprecedented scale and speed of the upsurge for Jeremy is evidence of the huge dam of discontent that has been building up for a long time. A movement that was artificially held back by a capitalist media that has done all it can to suppress the mass of anti-austerity and pro equality voices. And a Labour Party machine that has undemocratically sought to prevent the natural development of a strong left opposition. However, the more something is held back the more forceful the flow when it is released. In this case, the powerful combination of a social media bypassing the tradition press and television, and an open voting system for Labour leader free of the Party?s machine, has finally let the genie out of the bottle. In doing so it has allowed us to achieve something that the Labour Left has dreamed of for generations.

But in all the enthusiasm and excitement, we also have to recognise that the election of Jeremy as Labour leader is just the start of a much bigger series of tasks: transforming the Labour Party; convincing the larger public of our alternative to Austerity and inequality; winning a majority in the 2020 election; and changing Britain into a democratic socialist society.

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Book Review: Mick Brooks evaluates Paul Mason’s ‘Postcapitalism: a Guide To Our Future’

Collage lightPublished: 29 August 2015.
Reviewer: Mick Brooks.

Paul Mason is the Economics Editor of Channel 4 News. As an ex-lefty, he offers a critical perspective on developments within capitalism. His latest book is not lacking in ambition: it promises nothing less than a guide to the future! It is indeed wide-ranging, and a challenging read for socialists.

What is Postcapitalism?
First the good news – according to Mason capitalism is likely to disappear off the face of the earth. Now the bad news – it will not be replaced by socialism, but by ?postcapitalism?. What is this beast?

?Capitalism, it turns out, will not be abolished by forced-march techniques. It will be abolished by creating something more dynamic that exists, at first, almost unseen within the old system, but which will break through, reshaping the economy around new values, behaviours and norms.? (Paul Mason’s Postcapitalism, p.xiv)

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Debate: American Presidential Elections – Culture War versus Freedom for All

Published: 21 August 2015.
Author: Paul Shepard.
Introduction by: TSN Editor.

The candidature of the 73-year-old self-styled ?socialist? Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders in the race for the US Democratic Party Presidential nomination has certainly brought the nomination contest alive. A huge number of people have been turning out to hear Sanders at rallies across America, with 28,000 crowding into a local Sanders rally in a basketball arena in Portland Oregon on August 10th and similar numbers attending a meeting in Los Angeles. Volunteers are queuing up to help the campaign with nearly 50,000 so far which is beginning to match Clinton?s professional campaign financed from her $2 billion war chest (provided mainly by the banks and the corporate elite) . All of this is now being reflected in the polls with support for Sanders among Democratic Party voters rising quickly – now at around 30% – while for front-runner Hillary Clinton it is falling at 47%.
…However, the participation of Bernie Sanders in this race is a controversial one on the America Left given the nature of the Democratic Party and the fate that has befallen past attempts of more progressive candidates to win the presidential nomination. A few months ago we carried an article opposing his campaign: ?Is US Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders ?sheep-dogging? for Hillary and the Democrats?? And we invited anyone who supported Bernie?s campaign to submit their views for publication. Thanks to Paul Shepard for responding to the challenge.

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China: Is It All Over?

China crashPublished: 8 August 2015
Author Michael Roberts
Intro by: TSN Editor

The stock market in China has had a mighty fall in the last few weeks. Does this imply a coming economic crisis or is it just another bump in the road for China?s economic miracle?

 

In recent weeks, the Chinese stock market has taken a massive plunge and in July shares suffered their worse month in six years, falling by 29% from the peak in June. This followed a humungous boom in stock prices since the beginning of 2015. Indeed, since August of last year, the market index in Shanghai has risen 160%. And even after the collapse in the last month the index is still nearly 80% higher than this time in 2014.

This stock market bubble is of the proportion of the US in the 1920s that led to the crash of 1929 and the subsequent great depression. Is this what is in store for the Chinese economy as well?

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